Thomas: That’s not what L.A. is about these days. Remember in the old commercials? You knew right away. There was a certain, crispness. Your aunt used tell a story about meeting your uncle that might help explain. Hannah, tell the ice cream story about Kip.
Hannah: It was always cold in that house until eleven when the sun would shine through the huge front window. Stereo in the center. Ficus to the right. Casting such crazy shadows. That’s when I’d usually be lying on the yellow shag carpet with their Persian cat, Sasha. Staring up at the ceiling. Rolling the threads of the rug’s weave between my thumb and forefinger. When I got up, I put the T.V. Guide next to the orange bowl on the rosewood end table and walked past his grandmother’s cork lamp–which he watered every day. I made myself a cup of coffee. If she only knew, I thought. Later, when we shared a sundae in the Tastee Freez off Liberty Street. He said, “Can you believe it?” I said, “Never in a million years.” Then, we took a stroll on the dock. He said, “It can’t be true. Can it?” We got to the end and sat down. The balls of our feet skimmed the surface of the pond as we swung our legs. I said, “Seems to me regardless, if it’s true, we’ll be okay.”
The bestselling book NurtureShock discusses the importance of parents talking about race with their children. Furthermore, the book indicates that the earlier these conversations occur the better–“At one moment a study was conducted between first graders and third graders…‘The researchers found this worked wonders on the first-grade children. Having been in the cross-race study groups led to significantly more cross-race play. But it made no difference on the third-grade children. It’s possible that by third grade, when parents usually recognize it’s safe to start talking a little about race, the developmental window has already closed.’”
Spurred by this knowledge New York Public Library’s Youth Materials Collections Specialist Elizabeth Bird has put together a picture book reading list useful for discussing race, religion and alternative lifestyles with children ages 4-8. Ms. Bird’s list is comprehensive, well-researched and is a great place to start if you are searching for quality diversity related resources.
They’d test the air raid sirens every few months. Usually, on Sundays when I was doing homework. Eventually, the tests stopped. Maybe, it was funding. Maybe, it was because we’d forgotten how to react.